What strength means to me

by - August 09, 2020

I have found this year and generally this academic year difficult for multiple reasons- a lot in my life changed quite quickly and I was forced to adapt to changes (some not so nice or ideal in a short space of time). As a result, I have been reflecting more on what being strong means to me. I think it can generally be quite easy to have this idea that being strong means never feeling weak, or never feeling like a mess and always feeling like you have everything under control. This year more than ever has taught me that is definitely not the case (or at least that is not the way I interpret it). I want to talk about in this post how this year has redefined my idea of what I feel strength is.

I have had close people in my life tell me that I have been strong. I remember when that was said to me replying and thinking "I don’t feel strong". But, what is strength meant to look like? I realise that the reason I did not feel strong was because I had this unrealistic idea in my head of what strength means. To me, strength was having everything together all of the time regardless of whatever circumstances you were in. Whilst it would be great if that was actually the case, reality does not really look like that for most people. Most people don’t have it together when they are going through a difficult period in their life and that doesn’t make them any less strong.

I believe any given person can be strong - after all, the things life throws at you sometimes don’t give you another choice. I just don't think what we typically associate with being strong is always what it looks like in reality. For me being strong is carrying on when you feel weak- that after all takes so much more bravery than to keep going when you feel you have it all worked out. Strength is pushing through all those moments where it feels impossible, where you feel scared, where it is uphill and you feel everything is falling apart. It is not perfect and always feeling like you can get through anything whatever happens. It is much messier than that. It is carrying on despite feeling like you can’t or are struggling to cope and feeling overwhelmed.

There are often expectations on what we think life is meant to look like. What strength looks like, what weakness looks like, what love looks like. However, more often than not your reality will not look like the expectation and that is OK. We are all on different journeys - it isn't meant to be a certain way. Your experience will be unique.

To anyone who may be struggling now, you are strong. Even if you don’t feel ‘strong’. You can get through your situation. Strength is not feeling like you can do anything all the time. It is continuing, even when you are scared. Your strength will probably be different to someone else's in another situation, but that doesn't take away from it.

Keep me caffeinated so I can write more. 🙂

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